A phony spiritualist (Mischa Auer) hypnotizes the daughter (Phyllis Barrington) of a wealthy banker (Ralph Lewis) in a scheme to swindle the banker out of his money.
A reporter (Earl McCarthy) investigating the swami discovers the plot, determines to expose it.
Reviewer:Dr Feel Rotten
March 10, 2011 Subject:
Spiritualism is making a comeback
They call it religion now days with TV preachers selling crap all day suckering fools to believe they'll go to heaven or hell if they don;t fork over the cash and the rich prey on peoples fears of such.. Jesus is on the NYSE and NASDAQ...underthe heading of suker..dull flick
February 28, 2011 Subject:
Eenie Weenie Chili Beanie, The Spirits Are About To Speak!
I was expecting an exploitation film as this is billed as "an expose of the psychic racket", but while a spiritualism is central to the story the subject is not sensationalized. This is a crime drama.
A reporter is sent by his editor to answer a suspicious ad for an actor, and surreptitiously take the job. He becomes a player in a scam run by a ruthless, murderous swami whose crew includes actors, a film crew, frontmen, guards, and others. One scam involves bilking an investor in a phony oil well deal. The reporter falls for the daughter of the investor, tells her about the scam, but is overheard by another of the swami's crew. They detain him, kidnap the daughter, and set up the investor to pay a $20,000 ransom. The reporter is helped by one of the crew, and the police are called in just as the organization is leaving town.
It's not a bad film for its time. It shows some silent movie touches. Some music would have helped, as it's paced slowly. Even the swami, played by Mischa Auer, didn't use music during the seances.
According to Wikipedia, spiritualism was in its heyday from the 1840s to the 1920s. I know Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, was a believer. This sort of stuff is ongoing, though. Psychic healers, tarot readers, astrologers, and others skirt the laws and prey on the ignorant and gullible. I remember reading that Nancy Reagan consulted an astrologer.
I downloaded the 688MB AVI file. the film was in good shape for its age, but the video showed some compression artifacts. The audio seemed muted, but not noisy.